10 Day Juice Cleanse Saga

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The last week of February marked the first week of my new life. The catalyst for change came in the form of a 10- day raw, unadulterated, fit-throwing, thumb-sucking, eye-opening battle of the wills between me and produce. I had no idea that vegetation packed such an organized armada, and possessed such strong determination to defend its own honor. I must say, after the battle was over, Kale was looking pretty sexy to me, in spite of our wrestling… One evening last month, I happened to watch the (inspiring and incredible) documentary, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, by Joe Cross, mostly because I had already gone through all of The Office episodes on Netflix. At the end of the documentary, I started feeling that clicking sound in my brain that always happens when a paradigm shift in my thinking begins. I knew that two things were about to happen: 1) I was going to nose dive into a juice cleanse, and 2) woe to everyone around me who was going to be pressured to join me. Just as expected, I told everyone in my sphere of influence about the documentary, scheduled a screening of it, and encouraged (coerced…whatever…) them to watch it with me. In a matter of days, 10 people had juicers, no details of how a juice cleanse should go, and a very weak plan of our meals for the next 10 days. It was all good. And here’s how it played out: Day 1: Excited over something new and healthy- we were all very optimistic. I made my first (never used a juicer before, until that very moment) breakfast juice: 6 carrots, 1 whole grapefruit, and a sprig of mint. I even had it recorded digitally. Man, I was healthy. Look how good I was being. I didn’t even miss my coffee. Day 1 (lunchtime): Mean green juice: 6 stalks of Kale, 1 whole green apple, 1 whole cucumber, 4 stalks celery, ½ lemon.  (Phone rings) “I don’t think I can do this, Keri. The green juice makes me gag…like, LITERALLY gag; plus, I feel light headed.” (It was my sister. She was complaining already-something about fainting at work) I was feeling fine-inspired, actually. The green juice tasted like lawn clippings, but that quality endeared itself to me-it reminded me of summers spent in the back yard as a kid… Day 1 (3:00 coffee break): Being my usual Starbucks time, I knew I was going to have to create a diversion. I looked in my pantry, trying to assess what would satisfy that Siren’s Call that I love so much. Nothing caffeinated, nothing acidic- we were trying to balance our internal pH, after all. I chose an herbal tea made with lemon. It didn’t satisfy at all, but I wasn’t going to be a baby about it. Day 1 (Dinner): Mean Green Juice again, and the phone calls and texts kept coming in. Everyone wanted to succeed in the juice cleanse for various reasons, but as the day waned on, the payoff was growing less appealing. I was feeling fine physically (no side-effects of a cleanse), but a burden was beginning to set in: I made it through day 1, but tomorrow morning was coming, and 9 days without coffee seemed like a death sentence. My husband, however, was trekking through like a pro. Punk. Day 2 (Breakfast: ugg…do I really have to get up?!?) As quickly as the excitement came, it left in the same manner. I was over the coolness of eating raw, the potential of inspiring others on the benefits of living micronutrients in our bodies- heck, I didn’t even care about ol’ Joe Cross and my perceived “inspiration” of his film. I only cared that I had posted the fast on Facebook, and others had commented on it. I knew that I had to finish; It was a pride thing…Me and my BIG mouth... Days 2-3 continued on, growing in intensity, conflict, and inner turmoil, with a whole lot of groaning and complaining. It really was the coffee that I was missing the most- that, and the act of chewing. I was craving things I never really even ate-peanut butter, hot dogs (gross!), glasses of milk, the table and chairs…I didn’t think I was going to make it past day 3.  I told everyone who crossed my path about my sufferings- even the poor lady in Sprouts who was considering a juice cleanse…she was examining the coconut water when I scared her away. Day 3 (dinner): I went to the 10 day Reboot plan on the “Fat, Sick….” website in desperation for salvation- surely there was a better way. And, as research and planning usually does, it paid off. I realized that we could have been EATING our produce as well as juicing. I have never made a salad so quickly in my life, nor have I enjoyed lettuce as much before! It was back ON. Day 4: After more wrestling with the coffee issue, I conceded to walk on, knowing that I only had 6 (?!?!?!) more days to go. It was at this time that I would best describe my condition as complete, belly-up surrender. I had accepted my fate, but I wasn’t happy about it. Meanwhile (not that I was trying to lose weight), the number on the scale was rapidly declining…5 pounds, 4 days. Day 5 (Crossroads): In spite of the fact that I had made peace with the deprivation of the cleanse, I began to question my motivations. I couldn’t remember why I had set out on this particular journey in the first place. I wasn’t interested in losing weight, and already felt pretty “clean” inside…The only reason that I could maintain at that moment was the whole pride thing (there IS something to be said for peer pressure, no matter how self-inflicted…) But something deep inside of me kept reminding me to finish the race well…I decided it was worth it to finish what I had started. I also determined that the duration of the cleanse would simply be experiential-I wanted to see what would happen in the end. So I pressed on still… Day 6-9: Easy. The Mean Green juice started to taste good…life-giving, actually.  Kale massaged with sea salt, and tossed with dates, avocado, and lime reminded me of my ancestors in Israel who were eating from the Land of the Promise. My internal vision was becoming clearer. I began to understand how we were meant to relate to food- how plants, when masticated and digested into our systems, become direct sources of the sun’s energy, and have the ability to provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and quite literally, healing nutrients for our bodies. I read a quotation that said, “What you put on the end of a fork is more powerful than anything in a bottle”. My understanding of HOW food works in our bodies began to fall into perfect harmony with my knowledge of how our bodies process what we put on the OUTSIDE of it… pH balance, cellular oxygenation, free radicals and oxidation, nutrient absorption…It was all related. It was all the same. It all made sense. The key was turning… Day 10 (The Renewal): As the last day of the cleanse dawned, I felt new, yet as if I had always taken in nutrients in this manner. I felt very friendly with juicing, completely familiar with the concepts and benefits of consuming living nutrients. I knew that I would continue to juice daily for the rest of my days- the value of living, active nutrients outweighed the momentary pleasures (?!?!) of the SAD way of eating (Standard American Diet). I had been set free from the bondage of junk foods. It was VERY liberating. Day 11: Morningjuice:6 carrots, 1 whole grapefruit, 1 thumb of ginger. Pinkies up! Notes:

  • My husband, who did want to lose a bit of weight, lost a total of 9 pounds during the cleanse, and has kept it off to today. He and I juice our breakfast, have a green juice for either lunch or a snack daily, and have a vegan meal for dinner. We still eat more omnivorously on the weekends, out of convenience and hospitality toward others we may be dining with.
  • A weird phenomenon kept happening throughout the cleanse- my husband felt it, too. There were moments when I felt like I had just had a margarita- you know that buzz-type feeling...not sure why that was happening...
  • While we have not professed to become vegans, our natural desire has shifted toward the vegan diet. Probably the biggest surprise for me at the end of the cleanse was that now, the thought of eating meat and dairy causes an internal conflict within my mind because I know that the dairy products are mucus forming, and meat is very acidic and takes more time to digest. They also give me a tummy ache now. My hubs says the same of greasy foods. I read a book that talked about (get ready to be ooged out) the stool of omnivores versus the stool of plant eaters: It described the omnivores' stool as dense, low in bulk, and not heavy enough to pass through the intestines in a timely manner. It said that their stools remained in the intestines too long, leading to (eck!) PUTRIFICATION. Stool rotting in my bowels?!?! Nasty!
  • I purchased a Jack LaLane Juicer, and though it works well, it is not designed for regular juicing. It is struggling to keep up with our frequency. The Breville juicers are designed for the more habitual juicers, however, I have my eye on the even more hard-core, masticating juicer…something a little like this guy.
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  • I still have my Tall Americano daily, but without milk or sugar…and am trying to find a less acidic coffee brew (it's the brewing process that renders the coffee acidic- that and the roast. A darker roast is less acidic, and has less caffeine). Apparently, cold-pressed is the way to go...I’m looking into it now.
  • The kids are eating what I am preparing, but with tons of gagging sounds, drama, and bribery. Hopefully it will grow on them...we'll see...
Keri Lehmann
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